Historically, Europe has been plagued with conflict. For years, the ‘great powers’ of Europe – such as France, the United Kingdom (UK) and Germany – have fought over territory, power and prestige. The two World Wars both originated in Europe, accurately depicting Europe’s unstable past. Since then, however, Europe has undergone an immense transition of peace and prosperity; the longest period within the continent in over 2,000 years. Illustrating this, the European Union (EU) – a political union of European countries intended to prevent war in Europe – was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012 for advancing the causes of peace, reconciliation and human rights in Europe. Since its establishment, the EU has become a primary actor in European affairs and foreign policy, collectively offering flagship advice on conflicts occurring throughout the world. This has resulted in the drafting of ongoing peace agreements within the region – such as the MINSK protocols – and externally – likening the Oslo Accords and the recent Stockholm Agreement in Yemen.
Yet, internally, Europe is suffering from political unrest amidst the rise of far-right groups. Whilst anti-immigration rhetoric has existed previously, the ongoing migrant crisis in Europe has surely exacerbated a ‘climate of xenophobia’ amongst EU member states. As populist ideas gain influence, anti-refugee policies have been invoked and consequently migrants have been subject to violent hate crimes. The tendency for migration to cause division in Europe is amply demonstrated in the UK’s decision to leave the EU, of which was based on anti-immigration rhetoric.
As such, far from a unifying force, Europe has responded negatively to political unrest, and, subsequently, there is mounting tension between EU member states. The longstanding contention between Russia and the West is one example of this division in Europe. With the EU and Russia constantly competing for zones of influence in the continent, numerous countries attempting to join the EU paradoxically causes tension rather than unity promised by the political union. As a result, Russia has been on the receiving end of multiple sanctions from EU countries, recently due to its illegitimate annexation of the Crimean region in Ukraine. This prompts the inclination that, whilst conflict is not widespread throughout Europe, it is certainly a possibility.
The situation within countries in Eastern Europe such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and North Macedonia are the closest to achieving this sense of total conflict. The impeding situation in Kosovo remains an ongoing debate in the UNSC whilst UN peacekeeping forces are present in both Kosovo and nearby Bosnia and Herzegovina. Inherent in all these political situations and throughout Europe is the protection of human rights; an issue that has been disregarded through the arrival of far-right groups and ideas. For example, in Belarus, a country where the death penalty is still active, protestors have labelled the president – of whom has served for 20 consecutive years – as ‘Europe’s last dictator’. In Western Europe, human rights protests regularly occur in Paris with the ‘Yellow Vest’ movement, the UK with Brexit, and in Spain with the Catalonian independence movement; all three of which are currently the most prominent in Europe.
Crises in Europe
The Latest in Europe
‘Grant Us The Simple Rights Animals Have’ – Mental Health Crisis In Kara Tepe Highlights Deficiencies Of EU’s Asylum And Migration Policies
A report published by the International Rescue Committee on 17th December (IRC) details a severe mental health crisis affecting at least 15,000 refugees entrapped for
United Kingdom And New Zealand Loosen Restrictions On Queer Men Donating Blood: Unravelling Complex History Or Fortifying Stigma?
On Monday, 14 December 2020, the United Kingdom and New Zealand announced new rules regarding blood donor eligibility, including looser rules for men who have
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on December 26th that he planned to vaccinate approximately 150,000 individuals each day for the coming week, with a
Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité – Et Confidentialité? New Wave Of French Protests Over Draft Security Bill
Protesters have again clashed with police in Paris, as nearly one hundred rallies gather nationwide to protest a controversial new draft security law. Despite President
Discussion on Europe
Since the fall of key political figures, such as Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Fillon, the Republican party named Les Républicains in France has grappled with
Taking The Violent Demolition Of A Makeshift Camp In Paris As A Point Of Entry To The Debate Around Undocumented Migrants In France
Indignation in light of hundreds of migrants’ coercive displacement On the night of the 24th of November, national security forces dismantled 500 tents
Biden’s Election Leaves the European Union Considering How to Restore Their Relationship with the United States
The majority of Europe breathed a sigh of relief when Joe Biden was elected. During the four years of Trump’s presidency, Trump succeeded in alienating
Cutting the U.K. Aid Budget Is Not An Economic Necessity; It Is A Symptom Of Changing Foreign Policy Ambitions.
On Wednesday 25th November, Rishi Sunak, Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, released his Spending Review, which sought to highlight the range of measures the government
Connecting the Baltic and Black Seas: Opportunities and obstacles The Pripyat River, which flows through the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (CEZ) in Belarus and Ukraine, forms
Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe : France Recently Adopts A Fairer Paternity Leave And Turns Quite A Few Heads
After several years of careful consideration, in September, Emmanuel Macron announced that as of July 2021, paternity leave would be doubled. Fathers will receive